Archive for January, 2010
I miss my dad. I miss everything about him. His breakfasts, his handi-work, his way with dogs, his way with kids. I miss my dad.
My dad’s story is like a lot of others – a child of the Depression, a WWII vet who changed the course of his life with the GI Bill. A kid from a northern West Virginia steel town, who made his way to junior college and then to George Washington University through hard work and football. He returned home, became a husband, father, teacher and coach. He built our house with his two hands and my family never wanted for anything. We weren’t rich, but we lived well.
As a high school coach, and later, the Athletic Director, my dad always integrated (probably, through necessity) his work with his family. I remember, as a boy, hanging around football and basketball games, track meets, wrestling tournaments – always having free run of the joint. (I have hilarious footage of my older brother and me hitting a blocking sled at the age of eight.) We worked, we played and we loved it.
In the summer, my father, taking full advantage of his downtime as a teacher, ran a small construction crew. Of course, my brother and I worked on it when we respectively turned twelve or thirteen. It was hot, it was tough, but it instilled a work ethic we both carry to this very day.
My son was born three years after my dad passed. Like my father did 60 years ago, my son found solace in football. He isn’t athletically gifted; he has Asperger’s Syndrome, so kinesthetic abilities are few. Nonetheless, he loves the sport, and he became a manager with the high school football team. Last December, he was awarded a varsity letter. Frankly, it may not sound like a big deal, but for my son – huge!.
Dad passed away 17 years ago this past weekend. I have a tickler that pops up every January 30 – “Dad passed away – 1993” — as if I’ll ever forget. Every time the tickler pops, the memories accumulated since his death run through my head and I wish he could have been a part of them. Many times, I could have used his knowledge, wisdom, expertise and reassurance. I wish he and my son could have known each other. I wish my dad could have bounced my son on his knee, teach him how to “blow-up his bicep” and wiggle his ears.
At his football banquet, my son’s name was announced as a letter winner. As he walked to the front of the room to accept his award, my thoughts ran to my father. How proud he would have been.
I love you Dad. Rest in peace.